The Kenya Vision 2030: Unsustainable Development Goals…?

In the recent past, Kenya has become a circus with clown-faced, environmental tragedies that gawk at us in sheer derision since they are all avoidable. These problems, it appears, are also deeply rooted to the extent of reflecting in the Kenya Vision 2030.

Kenya Vision 2030 has the environment buried somewhere in the social pillar.

The Kenya Vision 2030 is all about economic development and does not prioritize the environment despite the country subscribing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and having signed the Paris Agreement. This being the National Blueprint for Development and the vision of the country’s direction (literally), it is devastating. Scientific literature is straightforward on the pillars of sustainability being social, environmental, and economic. The Kenya Vision 2030 has three pillars that exclude the environmental pillar i.e. economic, social, and political. Instead, the Kenya Vision 2030 has the environment buried somewhere in the social pillar. The Three Key Pillars below do not include the environment, which is central to the achievement of the SDGs, although the vision targets “a clean and secure environment”

This under-prioritization of the environment further manifests in the directorates of the management of the Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat (VDS). The economic pillar has a standalone directorate currently headed by Veronica Muthoni Okoth. The economic pillar also has an assistant director, Mr. John Kariuki. On the other hand, the social pillar (which houses environment) shares a directorate with the political pillars headed by Ada W. Mwangola. The already-bundled directorate of social and political pillars does not have an assistant director like the economic development pillar. Having lived in this country for more than three decades, I know that the political pillar has the capacity to take care of itself and has proven this many times in history. Moreover, the Board of Directors comprises 13 Principal Secretaries from the national treasury, planning, science and technology, energy, agriculture, education, lands, industry and enterprise development, tourism, mining, international trade, water, and labor. No one from the Ministry of Environment.

This imminent prioritization of the economic pillar in Kenya Vision 2030 explains the ongoing injustices and the incessant development of hostage-taken lacunas for salvaging the already degraded environment. It has promoted the rise of state-of-the-art, sky-scraping malls and go-downs at the expense of protecting wetlands and conserving forests. The implementation of the Kenya Vision 2030 is visionless or blurry on conservation of the environment to the extent of the economic pillar enabling the flagging of the deadly Lamu Coal Plant and the fatal, proposed Nuclear Power Plant.

Kenya Vision 2030 is not the way to go to achieve sustainable development or live up to the Paris Accord. It is simply a depiction of how blurry the country’s vision is concerning sustainable development. For what can you say about a Vision that knew the causes of flooding and did nothing to provide concrete steps for overcoming those? What then becomes of the government that knows these challenges, but prefers ‘malling’ to foresting unless tragedy strikes? What then becomes of me, a citizen who knows this and is complacent with the status quo or is busy pointing fingers without taking action?

If the country hinges its development plan on Kenya Vision 2030, such development will not achieve any of the interrelated SDGs. At the danger of prophesying doom, we can expect more environmental tragedies that will destroy the over-hyped economic development or even bring it to its knees upon achieving such development.